Published: Tue, February 18, 2014
By JM Agreda
Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, said he is optimistic the modernization program will push through even without the help of the United States.
Bautista, who was in Baguio City for the PMA Alumni Homecoming over the weekend, said the modernization program of the AFP will continue with new frigates for the Philippine Navy and South Korean FA50 trainer jets for the Philippine Air Force.
Bautista said that, while the government is keen on buying several C-130 transport aircraft from the United States, the country is also considering other sources of frigates and fighter jets.
He said these new air and naval assets would be a big boost to the country’s defense of its territories, clarifying these could not be sent to disputed areas especially in the West Philippine Sea, as an ongoing protocol for status quo remains among ASEAN-member nations and China.
However, the commanding general of the AFP stressed that modernization also includes the improvement of training courses and tactics used by the various branches of the military.
He said the acquisition of new naval and air assets have already been firmed up even before the expected arrival of US President Barrack Obama in April, and that this will continue even after he retires on July and beyond the end of President Aquino's term.
The C130 planes that will be purchased from the US, he stressed, have proven useful in military operations and in disaster relief missions.
He said the country may need more than P5 billion for the acquisition of new air and naval assets for its modernization program.